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Scouts fight fierce winds at Spring Camporall

Boy Scouts from four local troops didn’t let formidable forecasts deter them from attending the 2004 Spring Camporall near Osterburg this past weekend.
All told, more than 200 scouts and adult leaders attended the event, designed to pit individual scouting troops against each other in a contest of scouting skills and teamwork. The weekend event included tent camping, cooking over an open fire, and incorporating a hand-made trek cart – similar to those used by Scouts 80 years ago – into the competition events.
“Tyrone sent all four of its troops to the event, making up 40 percent of those in attendance,” said Cummins McNitt, scoutmaster of Troop 20, sponsored by The Church of the Good Shepherd. “Our program in Northern Blair County is alive and well. All four local troops provide quality programming for our youth.”
Also attending were Pete Kreckel’s Troop 300 from St. Matthews Church, Mike Yeaton’s Troop 103 from Bald Eagle United Methodist Church, and Craig Stover’s Troop 104 from Warriors Mark United Methodist Church.
According to McNitt, the 2004 Spring Camporall was a major success for all participants.
With weather forecasters predicting thunderstorms all weekend long, the Scouts went in prepared for the worst and came out with the best.
Particularly Troop 103. Yeaton’s crew placed third overall in the competition.
“I’m very proud of the guys,” said Yeaton. “They worked really hard to do a good job out there.”
While the winds blew throughout the weekend and made standing upright a challenge at times, only a few sprinkles came down the entire weekend.
The Scouts arrived Friday night and set up camp. The competition events lasted the entire day on Saturday. The events were timed and judged on skill and team work and included: orienteering, cooking flapjacks, rope work and hanging “bear bags,” knot tying, first aid, firebuilding skills, setting up tents, and so forth.
Each troop was required to operate a station in connection with a scouting skill.
Kreckel’s troop was required to set up a station requiring scouts to build a fire without using matches.
“It was really funny because at our station, we showed scouts how easy it was to start a fire with a single spark,” said Kreckel. “Cummins’ (McNitt) station was right after ours and he had fire building too. After the scouts left our station, they went to his and used this method. He couldn’t believe what they were doing.”
Kreckel showed scouts that by combining petroleum jelly with pure cotton into a single substance, it becomes a quick-igniting fire source.
“What’s safer than Vaseline and cotton,” said Kreckel. “It’s a good little trick for fire building, and we got to see Cummins laugh a little bit.”
At Troop 20’s station, scouts were required to build a fire large enough to burst a ballon dangling from a cord above the fire pit.
The weekend ended with a chapel service on Sunday morning and a closing awards ceremony.
“The kids all really had a good weekend,” said Stover. “Each scouts that went had the opportunity to learn from it. It’s really a unique event because the troops actually get to run part of it. It’s a great experience.”
Stover’s crew were required to man the map and compass scavenger hunt. The scouts of Troop 103 were required to man the pancake flipping and cooking station.
Kreckel said that although the event is designed around the scouts, it’s really a great tool for adult leaders to get together and discuss things, brainstorm ideas and just talk about scouting.
“And that works in other ways too,” said Kreckel. “It’s really a positive for the good groups of kids who get to see good men working together. I think that will teach them more of a lesson about manhood than anything they could read in a scouting manual.”
Those seeking Mother’s Day flowers can stop by the Kopp Drug parking lot tomorrow for Troop 300’s annual flower sale.